Filed under: Health Reform, Ted Kirchharr, The Busy Business Owner's Guide to Health Care Reform: What You Need To Know | Tags: ACA, employer, Health Care Reform, Health Reform, Human Resources, Insurance Reform, Landrum Human Resources, Landrum Staffing, PEO, PPACA
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“The Busy Business Owner’s Updated Guide to Health Care Reform: What You Need to Know”
by Ted A. Kirchharr
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Filed under: Holly McLeod,PHR, Human Resources, Jim Guttmann, SPHR, Tom Knox, PHR | Tags: Communication, company culture, employee, Employee Development, employee orientation, employees, employer, Human Resources, Landrum Human Resources, new hire, Trust, Working a Better Way
YOU’VE HIRED A NEW EMPLOYEE – NOW WHAT? Bringing New Employees In To Your Company Culture
written by: Jim Guttman, SPHR; Holly McLeod, PHR; Tom Knox, PHR on November 12, 2013
A new personality is joining your group and both the new hire and your employees are unsure of what to expect. Depending on the personality and confidence level of your new employee, she may be thinking things like:
“Will they like me?”
“Will I like them?”
“How soon can I make friends with my new co-workers?”
“I hope no one tries to be friends.”
“Will they show me the ropes?”
“I can’t wait to show them what I know!”
Likewise, your employees may be thinking:
“Will I like her?”
“Will she like me?”
“I’ll try to be friends with her.”
“I don’t want another personality in the mix.”
“Oh great, another person to train.”
“I hope she’s not a show off.”
Acclimating a new employee into your existing business culture can be tricky, but there are steps you can take to ensure the smoothest transition for everyone.
BEFORE NEW EMPLOYEE STARTS
- Notify employees a new employee will be joining the company. If you have a small business or department, talk to each current employee and give a personal heads-up of the anticipated start date of the new employee. Then, give some background about the new employee such as name, history in the industry, etc.
- Ask your employees if they have any questions. They will most likely be wondering (and/or fearful) about what this means to them. Anticipate that and be prepared to answer “How will this affect my job?”
- Ask for suggestions on how best to welcome and orient the new employee in to your company. Ask questions like, “What ideas do you have?” and “What would you like to see if you were coming here as a new employee?” This way, they become part of the process and it makes your employees feel valued. NOTE: It is important to let the ideas be theirs when possible. If someone suggests having a welcome reception for the employee and you’ve already thought about it, just say “That’s a very good idea. Thanks!” Don’t say “I’ve already planned to do that.” Even if an idea sounds ridiculous to you, don’t immediately shoot it down. Just thank the person for the idea and say you’ll think about it. If a suggestion or idea is immediately dismissed, it will make the person hesitant to provide any other feedback in the future.
- Let your employees know your plan so they won’t be guessing what comes next after the employee begins work.
THE FIRST DAY OF WORK
- Spend time with the new employee. Explain the company; where it’s been, where you want it go, the mission and vision of the company, key customers, organization structure (who reports to who, etc.), and what you anticipate her role will be in that plan. If you haven’t already discussed it in detail, go over pay, any paid time off procedures, work schedule, basic expectations, who she’ll be working with most, etc. Answer any question she may have and make her feel welcome, while at the same time expressing an awareness of the value and expertise she brings to the table (if applicable).
- Go around and personally introduce the new employee. Remember, you have already told them what to expect so this will not be a surprise to anyone. When making introductions, explain to the new employee what each person does and how that person’s job might interact with hers.
- Give her a detailed tour of the office, including where each machine is she’ll be using. Ask her if she’s worked with that particular machine. If so, there’s no need for details. If not, tell her you’ll make sure she gets properly trained on it.
- The rest of the first day (that’s not taken up by other planned “first day events” like a welcome reception, etc.) should be spent learning what she’ll need to know most immediately, such as office procedures, forms you use, etc.
- Schedule a time for the new employee to sit down and spend time with each person or department with which they will interact. Ask them to explain to the new employee what they do and answer any questions she may have. Even if the employee has years of experience, this is a new company with a different culture and different ways of doing things.
- Ask each current employee who spends time with the new employee to give you feedback on anything discussed or indicated in their orientation time that you need to follow up on or add to the employee’s training plan.
- After the initial “mini-orientation” meetings, allow the new employee to sit and observe in each of your main service/function areas. This serves to provide some valuable “ah ha” moments for the new employee, to further send the message to your existing employees that they are valuable to you, and will provide an opportunity for the new employee and your current employees to bond and build a rapport.
- Provide this built-in orientation/training time up front and don’t expect the new employee to be “productive” during this period – at least for a few days.
AFTER THE ORIENTATION
- Sit back down with the new employee. Ask if she has any questions. Ask her if she sees a more efficient way to do the things she’s seen. Does she have any recommendations for you to consider? Of course if she provides any suggestions, don’t immediately dismiss them. Then, give her clear guidelines on what you expect her to focus on.
- Give her a training schedule, if needed, including the subject of training (i.e., learning the key customers, contacts and vendors), and who she’ll be training with. If there are more than 2-3 training items, give her a written training schedule.
- Let her know that if at any time she has a question or concern, she can always talk to you.
Thoughts to Keep in Mind
- Your new employee won’t want (nor need) to be treated like a “red-headed step child.” She’s more than likely going to be nervous about going to a new workplace. She should have her past work experience recognized (valuing what she brings to the table).
- If you have a job description, give it to her on the first day of work. After her orientation period and your re-visit with her, ask her if she has any thoughts or concerns regarding the job description. Set a time to meet with her in 30 days to review the job description again. If there are any obvious disconnects between the job description and what she has been taught, you might need to tweak the job description so that it accurately reflects the job responsibilities.
- It can’t be stressed enough that allowing your existing employees to be part of this process will help them feel valued and more receptive of the new employee, as well as help your new employee feel valued and wanted.
- The biggest obstacle – and eventual success factor – is building trust. It can take some time to cultivate but you can lose it in a heartbeat if there is a perceived wrong or slight of any kind. You need to build the trust of the new employee as well as continue building trust with your existing staff. Trust can be the glue that binds everything and everyone together. It could not only serve to help in acclimating a new employee in to your company culture, but in building and improving the overall morale of the company.
As a Landrum Professional Human Resources Manager, Jim is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and has over 20 years of HR generalist experience for a large government contractor and Fortune 500 Company. He holds a Masters in Business Administration from Florida State University and is an active member of the Greater Pensacola Chapter of the Society for Human Resources Management (GPCSHRM), previously serving as their Vice President of Information Services and Chairman of the Workplace Diversity Committee. Jim is also certified as a County Mediator and in the administration of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator(MBTI).
Holly McLeod is a Human Resources Manager for Landrum Professional Employer Services and Landrum Consulting. She is a certified professional in human resources (PHR) and has more than 15 years of human resources consulting in the corporate world, healthcare and manufacturing environments.
Tom has been a Human Resources Manager for Landrum Professional since August 2001. In his role as a Human Resources Manager, he ensures that Landrum’s clients are in compliance with all local, state and federal laws that impact human resources. He assists, as needed, with hiring, terminating, counseling, and training. He advises business owners and employees on the potential resolution of work-related issues and consults with employers on the implementation of best human resources practices.
Tom is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and is a Certified Professional through the International Personnel Management Association (IPMA – CP). Tom is certified to administer the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and uses the information to facilitate team building retreats.
Filed under: Jo-Anne Audette-Arruda, Risk Management | Tags: Compliance, employer, GHS, Globally Harmonized System (GHS), Hazard Communication, Hazard Communication Standard, Human Resources, Landrum Human Resources, OSHA, OSHA compliance deadline
October 1, 2013
Important Notice from your
Landrum Risk Management Department
The OSHA compliance deadline for Hazard Communication – GHS training is December 1, 2013 – are you prepared?
The Hazard Communication standard (HCS) ensures that workers have the right to know about the chemicals they handle. Recently, the HCS has been revised to align with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of classification and labeling to improve hazardous communication quality and workplace safety.
Major changes to the Hazard Communication Standard include:
- Hazard classification: Provides specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures.
- Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers will be required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided.
- Safety Data Sheets: Will now have a standardized 16-section format.
- Information and training: Employers are required to train workers by December 1, 2013 on the new labels elements and safety data sheets format to facilitate recognition and understanding.
Landrum’s Risk Management Department can help you achieve compliance with this training requirement!
Our clients have access to Training Today powered by BLR® which offers several online training programs to achieve compliance. Additionally, our safety professionals can provide you with various training resources or provide personal training to your team.
For more information or to schedule training please contact one of our Loss Prevention Consultants:
Jo-Anne Audette-Arruda, at 850-266-6162, or Mark Lundquist, at 850-266-6185.
Filed under: ACA, Affordable Care Act, Benefits, Consulting, Deadlines, Health Care Reform, Health Reform, Landrum, Melissa Miller, PHR, The Busy Business Owner's Guide to Health Care Reform: What You Need To Know
Deadline: October 1, 2013
Employee Notification of Access to Exchanges
Effective October 1, 2013 the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires all employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to provide employees with a notice containing specific information about coverage available through the exchanges as well as employer-sponsored coverage options. After the effective date, employers must provide the exchange notice to all new hires within 14 days of their start date.
On September 11, 2013 the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it will not penalize employers that do not provide the exchange notice to their employees by the October 1, 2013 due date. The requirement for employers to provide the exchange notice still stands, but without enforcement many employers may mistakenly consider providing the notice as optional.
To make compliance easier for employers the DOL has issued two model notices that may be used to meet this obligation. There is one model for employers who do not offer a health plan and another model for employers who offer a health plan for some or all employees:
For more information about the exchange notice:
“Helping people thrive and enjoy life” is Melissa’s personal mission. With a people-centered outlook Melissa obtained certification as a Professional in Human Resource Management (PHR) in 2006. Her work as Strategic Management Specialist for Landrum Human Resource Companies allows her the opportunity to help others as she facilitates organizational development. Leading strategic planning sessions and employee focus groups are direct service opportunities that she enjoys. Certified as an Associate Business Continuity Professional (ABCP) Melissa leads Landrum’s Business Continuity Team as they continuously develop and implement best practices to ensure continuity of operations.
Filed under: Jim Guttmann, SPHR, Landrum Europe | Tags: "Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights", Cameron F. Kerry, data privacy, Europe, European Union, Landrum Human Resources, PEO, US Department of Commerce
Data Privacy in the Information Age
by Jim Guttmann on August 27, 2013
The Digital Age (a.k.a. Information Age) has brought about an industry that allows us to shop for great deals on the internet and easily make purchases at favorable prices. Isn’t that great!
Hmmm….but as we take advantage of this brave new world, companies are watching. They want to know where we go on the web, what we buy and what causes we support. In that way, they can then target offers to us based upon our preferences and lifestyle choices. Well now, is that a good thing? Or is it an invasion of our privacy? Of course, the answer you may get to that question may vary depending on to whom you ask. Not surprisingly, this topic is of great interest to the European Union (E.U.) and U.S. Commerce Department in recent years. Let’s compare how they view this matter.
European Union View:
The E.U. has instituted a blanket regulatory system regarding data privacy. Since 1995, they have data protection laws in place that lay out principles for the collection of personal information. There are strict rules in terms of what companies can and cannot do in terms of collecting, using, disclosing and storing personal information. Citizens have certain fundamental rights – one of which is the right to obtain copies of records held about them by companies and institutions. However, according to European Commissioner Viviane Reding the current rules need significant updating and tightening. Ms. Reding believes “The main problem is our rules predate the digital age and it became increasingly clear in recent years that they needed an update.” Under consideration is the strengthening of some existing provisions and standardization of data protections across the 27 member states of the E.U. This proposal is a “one regulation fits all approach” and is grounded on the basic premise that privacy is a core democratic value that must be safeguarded, not left to market forces.
U.S. Commerce View:
In the United States, Congress has enacted a variety of privacy laws that separately limit the use of Americans’ medical records, credit reports, video rental records and so on. In large measure, the U.S. Government trusts industry to police itself. Consumers have little control over personal data. There are remedies when violations of privacy occur but they exist only in targeted areas. Under the guidance of Cameron F. Kerry, General Counsel of the Commerce Department, however, there is an agency effort to help develop voluntary, enforceable codes of conduct for industry groups like app developers, whose collection and use of consumer data are now unregulated. It appears that the American approach/movement on this issue is to have sector specific privacy laws, in addition to industry self-regulation and enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission. This approach emphasizes flexibility for businesses interested in consumer profiling so they can properly target a “would be” consumer.
Forming a Middle Ground?
The online marketing industry is still evolving. Both sides of the Atlantic are currently grappling with this issue wanting to bridge the current divide in European and U.S. approaches. The overall objectives are similar; they are both in search of a proper balance between improving consumers’ privacy protections and ensuring that the Internet remains an engine for innovation and economic growth. Here’s the crux of the matter for consumers: Would you be happy to trade a little privacy in return for offers that really meet your needs?
Last year, President Obama proposed a “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” that would give Americans many of the same baseline protections that the draft E.U. rule proposes to reinforce. These include the right of access to records that companies hold about you, the right to correct those records and the right to have limits on the personal data that companies collect and keep. With that said, some American advocacy groups believe that it would be unwise to have an overly broad, prescriptive, one-size-fits-all approach on this matter that would hinder or undermine the ability of companies to innovate in a global economy.
Across the pond, Ms. Reding has expressed some optimism that baseline consumer privacy protections between the U.S. and E.U. can be worked out stating “Convergence is springing up and synergies are possible.” Unquestionably, successful U.S. businesses venturing into Europe will be the ones most nimble and able to treat different customers differently whether they reside in Birmingham, Alabama or Birmingham, England.
Jim Guttmann is a Human Resources Manager for Landrum Companies offering human resources support to a diverse group of client companies. Landrum’s European business has a team of local European subject matter experts located in Almelo, The Netherlands that have a total of over 75 years of extensive experience with business development and HR processes in Europe. They are experts in helping U.S. companies break into the E.U. market.
Filed under: Elizabeth Oakes, SPHR, Human Resources | Tags: appreciation, customers, work life
How to Appreciate Your Internal and External Customers for $10.00 or Less!
When thinking of what kind of blog to write about and scouring the inter-webs for inspiration, I found myself attracted to any kind of Top 10 list that allowed me to procrastinate a little further. I figured it’s a great idea to marry my procrastination tendencies with something that can give you a thought for the day. With that, I have developed a list of ways to delight your customers, regardless of the type of industry. Remember, too, that “customers” include bosses, subordinate staff, and coworkers – so don’t hesitate to brighten someone’s day – they just might pay it forward.
- Write a handwritten note – There is nothing personal or heartfelt in a typed note. When I receive those I always assume they were a mail merge and about 50 other people got the same one – and I trash it. Handwrite a note to a customer, thanking them for working with you over the years to support your company. Thank a coworker for a friendship and shoulder to lean on. Tell an employee how much their effort affects the business and you, because you really couldn’t do it all without them. The most important part of a thank you note (other than hand writing it) is being specific about what you are thankful for. Pick something particular to that person to show appreciation for and tell them how it positively affects you.
- Feed someone – While the old adage “a way to a man’s heart…” is fun to say, let’s be honest – the way to ALL our hearts is through our stomachs. You can easily whip up a batch of your family’s favorite cookies, casserole, or condiment (think home canned jams and jellies, not ketchup) to give away. Make sure you explain why the recipe is so special to you and why you want to share it with the special people in your life, i.e. customers and colleagues.
- Buy ‘em a Coke – or a Pepsi, juice, bottle of water… Have you noticed that your boss always drinks Diet Coke? A great idea can be realized by having a chilled can at their desk when they get back from a meeting. It tells your boss, or other appreciation victim, that you have noticed the little details about them and took the time to be specific in appreciation. This one goes a long way – and it doesn’t have to be a Coke, it could be candy, fruit, granola bar, a specialty coffee, or even a type of pen (we all have our preferences).
- Call your mother – Okay, well not your actual mother, but the thought is the same. Have you called someone lately just to verbalize how much you appreciate them? Better yet, have you called one of your clients to tell them what they mean to you and your business or just to ask how they are doing and if they need you for anything? I’m sure you have their contact information – everyone and their brother have asked me for my email address and contact number for frequent buyer/user programs! You’d be surprised how the simple act of a phone call can cement a client’s loyalty. Oh, and call your actual mother too… she misses you.
- Throw them a party – This one, arguably, could cost you far more than $10.00 if restraint is a stranger to you (present company included), but with a few helium balloons, store bought cupcakes, and a few noise makers – you and a few staff members can really surprise and delight someone. The party can be for nothing other than being a part of your team – but I suggest that you don’t wait for baby showers or marriages to have celebrations that highlight a team member or client. Surprise parties work the best, and truly showcase someone for an accomplishment (big, small, minor, or transformational). Did you hear your client hit a sales goal? Let’s party! Did an employee finally master a particularly tough Angry Birds level? Celebration time! Did your vendor pick up some trash in your parking lot on the way in? Go nuts! You don’t need something major to happen to enjoy and appreciate any level of accomplishment.
- Spread a little gossip (but not the bad kind) –Tell others about how much you appreciate someone. It’s always nice to do it in front of that person, too. You are basically “showing off” that you are connected with such a great person. Now, if you choose to do this with employees you will have to be mindful that you do it for everyone across the board at some time – you don’t want anyone thinking you have favorites or appreciate one staff member over another. If you have a client you want to “show off,” introduce him/her to another staff member and explain the reason you appreciate them so much. It will be a twofold exercise – your staff member knows why this client is so important, and your client feels extra special and recognized.
I hope this (short) list gives you a springboard for delighting those around you. You certainly don’t have to stop here – let each point inspire you to new ideas, but remember, it can’t stop at just one person or doing it just one time. Make this a part of your culture and expectation in your workplace. Showing gratitude is an integral way to cement relationships. Giving thanks and appreciating others never goes out of style.
Now seriously, go call your mother.
Elizabeth currently practices as a Human Resource Manager for Landrum Professional Employer Services in Pensacola, Florida. In this role she ensures that Landrum’s clients are in compliance with all local, state and federal laws that impact on human resources. She assists, as needed, with hiring, terminating, counseling, and training. Elizabeth also advise business owners and employees on the potential resolution of work related issues and consult with employers on the implementation of best human resources practices.
Filed under: Jim Guttmann, SPHR, Landrum Europe | Tags: Europe, European consumer, Global, globilization, Human Resources, Landrum Europe, Landrum Human Resources, PEO
When U.S. Firms Venture Across the Pond
by Jim Guttmann, SPHR on July 8, 2013
In our May Blog, we discussed the opportunity that awaits small businesses beyond our borders. As U.S. businesses access those opportunities in the European market, what cultural differences might an American entrepreneur likely encounter? Here are just a few of them.
Time/History: For Americans, a building that is 100 years old is considered quite “old.” In Europe, it would be considered “new.” Ancient history for some Americans would be 200 years ago, whereas ancient history for Europeans would be 2,000 to 5,000 years ago.
Distance Traveled: For Americans, a drive from Pensacola, Florida to Mobile, Alabama (roughly 60 miles or 95 kilometers) would not be considered that far. For Europeans, it would be considered quite a distance. This is due to a much higher density in population in Europe.
Measuring System: Americans never really bought into the metric system. For the most part, we use the old English Imperial system (yards, miles, pounds, Fahrenheit, etc.) for everyday life. All Europeans use the metric system.
Vehicles: For Americans, we prefer automatic transmissions. We tend to like our vehicles large and we often see pick-up trucks in rural areas. Europeans like manual gears and some prefer cars that are smaller because it makes them easier to park in the cities. Overall, Europeans prefer diesel over gasoline.
Languages: Most Americans know only one language; English. Most Europeans learn 2-4 foreign languages. And being insensitive to the nuances of a foreign language can create real cultural relations problems. Marketing efforts for an alcoholic beverage called “Irish Mist” ran astray in Germany because the company behind the product failed to notice that the word “Mist” in the German language means “manure.”
Advertising: Americans are more than happy to wear costumes to promote their products on the street and place giant billboards on the highways. Don’t expect to see those things in Europe. Billboards are considered too distracting and the only signs tend to be public awareness signs for safer driving.
So, when marketing in Europe, U.S. companies need to understand and appreciate the preferences of the European consumer. After interviewing some of his European colleagues, Bob Boehnlein, President of Aprimo made the following observations:
- European consumers tend to appreciate modesty, and what you consider justifiable bragging rights in the U.S., might be considered over the top embellishment there.
- Europe is culturally diverse so it is best to adopt a country-by-country strategy with localized content and local experts for each culture and market.
- The use of American spelling of certain words in advertising can actually bring a negative result – especially in the U.K. Click here for a list of words that Americans spell differently than the British.
- Making a lot of references to life in the U.S. with your advertising (e.g. Fortune 500) may not be well received in Europe.
- All marketers and website owners operating in any European Union (E.U.) country must obtain consent from European users before implementing cookies or other technologies to capture online visitor information.
Considering all the cultural nuances when venturing into European markets, it’s important to engage the help of experts who know the language and customs or each region, country and locality.
Jim Guttmann is a Human Resources Manager for Landrum Companies offering human resources support to a diverse group of client companies. Landrum’s European business has a team of local European subject matter experts located in Almelo, The Netherlands that have a total of over 75 years of extensive experience with business development and HR processes in Europe and speak at least 9 different languages.
Now in its 43rd year, the Landrum organization began as a small job placement agency and has grown from two internal staff members to over 140 human resource professionals. Through its various subsidiaries the company provides comprehensive staffing services, human resources training and consulting, as well as PEO services.
Landrum’s corporate office is located at 6723 Plantation Road, Pensacola, Florida. Branch offices are located in Fort Walton Beach, FL; Panama City, FL; Columbia, SC; Asheville, NC; and Almelo, Overijssel, Netherlands.